J. Kelly Hoey (LLB ’91): strategic advisor, author, networking expert extraordinaire and this month’s featured alumna. When we learned this Allard School of Law grad was recently named one of the 100 most influential women on Twitter, we jumped at the opportunity to feature her transition from practicing law to inspiring others and publishing her own networking book in order to show just how boundless an Allard School of Law education can be.
Published in 2017, Hoey’s book, Build Your Dream Network is a modern roadmap for creating and cultivating meaningful connections to stand out from the crowd and achieve your goals, no matter how big or small. The book is packed with infographics, flowcharts and encouraging advice (in the form of case-study interviews) to show readers how to harness the power of their networks to accomplish any ambition, from landing a dream job or a coveted account to successfully crowdfunding a new business venture. How does Build Your Dream Network translate into legal education and practice? “For law students it’s a roadmap on how to start their career off on the right foot,” Hoey explained. “For lawyers, there are some surprisingly simple tactics to connect more effectively with their clients (or potential clients) without having to leave their desk.”
So why did this lawyer, turned author, transition from a successful practice to share her wisdom with others? Her decision to leave the active practice of law in 2002 occurred after a long analysis of what she enjoyed about her job. Hoey discovered that she needed to be around A-type, driven personalities. She focused in on how much she was sought out as a mentor by her colleagues – and how much she cared about their career fulfillment and success. Putting those factors together, she looked to move onto the other side of the law firm equation, ultimately landing a job as manager of professional development for a global law firm. The underlying story, which played itself out when she left law altogether in 2009, was listening to her network. “Your network frequently sees more possibilities in you than you see in yourself,” she said. “And when you have a broad, diverse network, well, it creates many interesting possibilities; more than I could have possibly have imagined when I graduated from UBC back in 1991.”
Hoey’s legal education and training continues to provide the foundation (and stamina) for everything she’s doing these days (though it took her years to recover from the Moot Court experience as a 1L - “I actively avoided public speaking after law school until about 2004”). From client service to working to meet a deadline to the critical thinking and curiosity needed to navigate the digital economy, that’s the DNA of being a lawyer. And a fun fact: the cover of her book was chosen by a former law firm client, so really, she never left the law.
Kelly dished out her three pieces of career for young professionals graduating from the Allard School of Law: Build your expertise, build your network and build your bank account. “Be known for something and make sure you have the personal relationships to fuel your career. Sitting behind your desk simply doing good work is not enough. Make relationship building with colleagues and clients as much a priority as thoroughly researching a point of law or reviewing a prospectus. As for the bank account, start your “yes me” fund from the day you receive your first paycheck. The “yes me” fund enables you to take career chances rather than simply imagining a “if only” scenario about them. Remember, no one cares about your career more than you do, so invest in it!”
With so many unique and exciting ventures on the go, we know there will be many more things to look forward to from Hoey. The highlight of her career to date? Nothing has beaten the feeling of discovering that her book is featured amongst the greats in the New York Public Library (yet).